Tags: Blair | adviser | intel | controversy

Blair Adviser Says Iraq Intelligence Not 'Sexed Up'

Tuesday, 12 January 2010 12:03 PM

LONDON - Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's one-time media adviser said a 2002 intelligence document that claimed Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes was not "sexed up" to exaggerate the case for war.

Alastair Campbell was testifying Tuesday at the Iraq war inquiry, an independent set of hearings looking into the decisions that led up to the 2003 invasion and governed Britain's involvement in the war.

The former spin doctor testified that his former boss was determined to disarm Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. But he said Blair had never been in a "rush to war" and that he regarded military action only as a last resort.

The intelligence document in question came out in September 2002 and detailed the threat posed by Iraq. It is most famous for saying that Iraq could "deploy chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes of an order to do so."

Presenting the intelligence dossier to Parliament and the public was a way of engaging them in his decision-making, Campbell said.

Campbell said he worked on the dossier with John Scarlett, the former head of MI6, the British foreign intelligence agency. Scarlett testified at the inquiry last month that it was he who wrote the dossier.

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Tuesday, 12 January 2010 12:03 PM
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